Your Trusted Brand for Over 35 Years

Life Extension Magazine

<< Back to March 2006

Whey Protein

March 2006

Casein and whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite.

Protein, generally agreed to be the most satiating macronutrient, may differ in its effects on appetite depending on the protein source and variation in digestion and absorption. We investigated the effects of two milk protein types, casein and whey, on food intake and subjective ratings of hunger and fullness, and on postprandial metabolite and gastrointestinal hormone responses. Two studies were undertaken. The first study showed that energy intake from a buffet meal ad libitum was significantly less 90 min after a 1700 kJ liquid preload containing 48 g whey, compared with an equivalent casein preload (P<0.05). In the second study, the same whey preload led to a 28 % increase in postprandial plasma amino acid concentrations over 3 h compared with casein (incremental area under the curve (iAUC), P<0.05). Plasma cholecystokinin (CCK) was increased by 60% (iAUC, P<0.005), glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 by 65% (iAUC, P<0.05) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide by 36% (iAUC, P<0.01) following the whey preload compared with the casein. Gastric emptying was influenced by protein type as evidenced by differing plasma paracetamol profiles with the two preloads. Greater subjective satiety followed the whey test meal (P<0.05). These results implicate post-absorptive increases in plasma amino acids together with both CCK and GLP-1 as potential mediators of the increased satiety response to whey and emphasise the importance of considering the impact of protein type on the appetite response to a mixed meal.

Br J Nutr. 2003 Feb;89(2):239-48

A high-whey-protein diet reduces body weight gain and alters insulin sensitivity relative to red meat in wistar rats.

A high-protein diet can reduce body weight and increase insulin sensitivity, but whether the type of dietary protein affects these outcomes is unknown. We hypothesized that feeding insulin-resistant rats a high-protein diet (32%) containing whey protein concentrate (WPC) would reduce body weight and tissue lipid levels and increase insulin sensitivity more than a diet containing red meat (RM). Rats were fed a high-fat diet (300 g fat/kg diet) for 9 wk, then switched to a diet containing either 80 or 320 g protein/kg diet, provided by either WPC or RM, for 6 wk (n = 8). The rats were then killed after overnight food deprivation. High dietary protein reduced energy intake (P < 0.001) and visceral (P < 0.001), subcutaneous (P < 0.001), and carcass fat (P < 0.05). Increasing the dietary density of WPC, but not of RM, reduced body weight gain by 4% (P < 0.001). Dietary WPC also reduced plasma insulin concentration by 40% (P < 0.05) and increased insulin sensitivity, compared to RM (P < 0.05). These findings support the conclusions that a high-protein diet reduces energy intake and adiposity and that whey protein is more effective than red meat in reducing body weight gain and increasing insulin sensitivity.

J Nutr. 2004 Jun;134(6):1454-8

A preexercise alphalactalbumin-enriched whey protein meal preserves lipid oxidation and decreases adiposity in rats.

The composition of the preexercise food intake is known to affect substrate utilization during exercise and thus can affect long-term changes in body weight and composition. These parameters were measured in male rats exercised 2 h daily over 5 wk, either in the fasting state or 1 h after they ingested a meal enriched with glucose (Glc), whole milk protein (WMP), or alpha-lactalbumin-enriched whey protein (CPalphaL). Compared with fasting, the Glc meal increased glucose oxidation and decreased lipid oxidation during and after exercise. In contrast, the WMP and CPalphaL meals preserved lipid oxidation and increased protein oxidation, the CPalphaL meal increasing protein oxidation more than the WMP meal. At the end of the study, body weight was larger in the WMP-, Glc, and CPalphaL-fed rats than in the fasted ones. This resulted from an increased fat mass in the WMP and Glc rats and to an increased lean body mass, particularly muscles, in the CPalphaL rats. We conclude that the potential of the CPalphaL meal to preserve lipid oxidation and to rapidly deliver amino acids for use during exercise improved the efficiency of exercise training to decrease adiposity.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Sep;283(3):E565-72

The bovine protein alphalactalbumin increases the plasma ratio of tryptophan to the other large neutral amino acids, and in vulnerable subjects raises brain serotonin activity, reduces cortisol concentration, and improves mood under stress.

BACKGROUND: Increased brain serotonin may improve the ability to cope with stress, whereas a decline in serotonin activity is involved in depressive mood. The uptake of the serotonin precursor, tryptophan, into the brain is dependent on nutrients that influence the cerebral availability of tryptophan via a change in the ratio of plasma tryptophan to the sum of the other large neutral amino acids (Trp-LNAA ratio). Therefore, a diet-induced increase in tryptophan availability may increase brain serotonin synthesis and improve coping and mood, particularly in stress-vulnerable subjects.

OBJECTIVE: We testedwhether alpha-lactalbumin, a whey protein with a high tryptophan content, may increase the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and reduce depressive mood and cortisol concentrations in stress-vulnerable subjects under acute stress. DESIGN: Twenty-nine highly stress-vulnerable subjects and 29 relatively stress-invulnerable subjects participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Subjects were exposed to experimental stress after the intake of a diet enriched with either alphalactalbumin or sodium-caseinate. Diet-induced changes in the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and prolactin were measured. Changes in mood, pulse rate, skin conductance, and cortisol concentrations were assessed before and after the stressor.

RESULTS: The plasma Trp-LNAA ratio was 48% higher after the alpha-lactalbumin diet than after the casein diet (P = 0.0001). In stress-vulnerable subjects this was accompanied by higher prolactin concentrations (P = 0.001), a decrease in cortisol (P = 0.036), and reduced depressive feelings (P = 0.007) under stress.

CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of a dietary protein enriched in tryptophan increased the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and, in stress-vulnerable subjects, improved coping ability, probably through alterations in brain serotonin.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1536-44

Role of calcium and dairy products in energy partitioning and weight management.

Dietary calcium plays a pivotal role in the regulation of energy metabolism because high-calcium diets attenuate adipocyte lipid accretion and weight gain during the overconsumption of an energy-dense diet and increase lipolysis and preserve thermogenesis during caloric restriction, which thereby markedly accelerates weight loss. Intracellular Ca(2+) plays a key regulatory role in adipocyte lipid metabolism and triacylglycerol storage; increased intracellular Ca(2+) results in the stimulation of lipogenic gene expression and lipogenesis and the suppression of lipolysis, which results in increased lipid filling and increased adiposity. Moreover, the increased calcitriol produced in response to low-calcium diets stimulates adipocyte Ca(2+) influx and, consequently, promotes adiposity, whereas highercalcium diets inhibit lipogenesis, inhibit diet-induced obesity in mice, and promote lipolysis, lipid oxidation, and thermogenesis. Notably, dairy sources of calcium markedly attenuate weight and fat gain and accelerate fat loss to a greater degree than do supplemental sources of calcium. This augmented effect of dairy products relative to supplemental calcium is likely due to additional bioactive compounds, including the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and the rich concentration of branched-chain amino acids in whey, which act synergistically with calcium to attenuate adiposity. These concepts are confirmed by epidemiologic data and recent clinical trials, which indicate that diets that include > or =3 daily servings of dairy products result in significant reductions in adipose tissue mass in obese humans in the absence of caloric restriction and markedly accelerate weight and body fat loss secondary to caloric restriction compared with diets low in dairy products. These data indicate an important role for dairy products in both the prevention and treatment of obesity.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 May;79(5):907S-912S